State cracking down for cable complaints

COLUMBUS Ohio Department of Commerce Director Kimberly Zurz granted a video-service authorization last week to Richards TV Cable Company in Jerusalem, Ohio. The company provides video service in six townships in Belmont, Harrison and Monroe counties.

As part of the authorization approval, the company’s president, Mark Richards, signed a compliance agreement to improve the company’s customer service.

The conditions include:

  • Operating a customer service center located at 5168 Main St., Jerusalem, by Nov. 10, 2008. The center is to be staffed with a trained company representative to respond to customers and telephone inquiries from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, excluding holidays.
  • Operating a phone line by Nov, 10, 2008 for its customers to leave messages after normal business hours. These calls are to be responded to by a trained company representative on the next business day.
  • Working on service interruptions promptly and in no event later than 24 hours after the company becomes aware of the interruption and restoring service within 72 hours if the cause was not due to a natural disaster.
  • Performing standard installations within seven days after an order is placed.
  • Responding to billing disputes from customers within 30 days of receiving a written complaint.

In 2007, Governor Ted Strickland signed Senate Bill 117, which replaced local franchise agreements for cable television providers with a state-issued authorization process. This enabled the director to issue video service authorizations to cable providers in Ohio and to investigate consumer complaints. The director has issued 35 video service authorizations to cable television providers throughout the state.

The director also has the authority to investigate any allegation that a state-approved video-service provider violated or failed to comply with the law.

Consumers who have not been able to resolve a complaint with their cable television company may file a complaint with the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Cable TV Consumer Hotline at 1-800-686-7826. The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) Call Center answers the hotline and forwards the information they obtain to the Department of Commerce.

For more information on the areas covered under video service authorizations, visit and click on Video Service Regulation. On this site, consumers can see a list of approved cable television providers, the areas that they cover, and download a complaint form.